21 June, 2021

Blog

Rajapaksa’s Hollow Call: Discipline For ‘Them’ & Freedom For ‘Us’?

By Vishwamithra

‘’Man, never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.’’ ~ Bernard Williams

It’s time that a debate of classical genre between freedom and discipline emerged in the socio-political spheres in Sri Lanka. Engagement of the country’s learned ones, academics, intellectuals, professionals and thinking politicians is an indispensable component for a lively, robust and a meaningful exchange of ideas, ideals and enlightening thoughts. It is not only essential that the participation of all shades of Sri Lankan thought be brought forward for a lively deliberation of content and processes, it is vitally significant that the participation of the free media in the country is sought for the success of the debate as those who are engaged in the trade of dissemination of information to the public are often the victims of a regime that practices draconian rules, regulations and physical thuggery and intimidation.

But it is important to find out as to who is preaching that discipline is more important than freedom as mere concepts or functional and organic mechanisms of governance. Pundits, more often than not, would argue as to the conceptual significance of freedom and discipline. But when it comes to the day-to-day practice of the real substance and processes, both freedom and discipline get enmeshed in an unforgiving chaos of human folly. 

When ill-informed would-be politicians get entangled in the process of high-sounding concepts, they invariably resort to their usual exercise of sloganeering. They fail to see beyond the slogans; they refer to these concepts as if they comprehend the inner meanings of the concepts. They never read; their understanding of modern developments of age-old practices is limited to simplistic interpretations of complex concepts. Yet they succeed in the short term because they, unlike the authentic intellectual men and women, politicians know the fine art of reducing a complex issue to a couple of mere slogans and delivering them with even a finer art of mob-oratory. 

In the early days of post-Independent Ceylon’s political field, SWRD Bandaranaike singularly dominated this field. His great ability to engage his gullible electorate in the same wavelength and then extract their support for the cause that he was purported to have championed was unique. His understanding of the then electorate and attack at its core values generated enormous results. But those successes were essentially short-lived. After propping up the Maha Sanga as the driving force of the modern-day Sri Lanka, he himself became a pathetic victim of that same force. 

Bandaranaike never ever tried to communicate either freedom or discipline. His manner of governance emanated the wrong signals of freedom and lacked basic discipline. His unwillingness to pay any attention to the alleged illicit relationship between a Buddhist Monk of repute and a Cabinet Minister of the fairer sex was sufficient evidence of this lack of attention resulting in a breakdown in Ministerial discipline.

But today’s scenario is different. The war victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) had a decisive effect on the mindset of all Lankans, Sinhalese as well as Tamils. The forces Bandaranaike unleashed gained new legitimacy and validity. Yet those who presided over that victory began raping the country, the Rajapaksas, came in for a humiliating defeat at the hands of a well-coordinated election campaign in 2015. The complexities of liberty and discipline emerged and they were, though not addressed in depth and detail, highlighted by the men and women who argued the validity of liberty as a fundamental right of all citizenry of the country. 

The people at large saw the rise of a phony patriotism; they beheld the cruel aspects of a regime that was instrumental in enjoying freedom among themselves while imposing so-called discipline on the citizenry of the country. The transparent phoniness of the rulers surfaced thanks to some extremely vocal and eloquent illustrations by the speakers of the national coalition organized to oust the corrupt Rajapaksas.

This is the fundamental issue today: when the Rajapaksas were in power how did they exercise freedom and discipline? It is only in that unforgiving context that we need to analyze the current call for discipline over freedom so promulgated by one of the Rajapaksa brothers (in fact by the one who has been alleged to have been engaged in cruel and unkind acts of dictatorial conduct). What was the discipline exercised when Lasantha Wickrematunge, the then editor of Sunday Leader newspaper, was brutally murdered in broad daylight by four bikers?  What was the discipline so exercised when Prageeth Ekneligoda was abducted? What was the discipline when dozens of other journalists were abducted, manhandled and killed by the forces who reported exclusively to the then Secretary of Defense who happened to the one who is now trying to determine that discipline over freedom matters more than anything else? 

What was the discipline exercised when Rathupaswala murder was committed by the Sri Lanka Army? What discipline was present during the massacre of the prisoners in 2014? These questions demand answers. They simply cannot be thrown into the dustbin in the name of discipline. This convoluted practice of discipline for ‘them’ and freedom for ‘us’ needed to be stopped and it actually did stop. That was on January 8, 2015. The most chaotic society with freedom is any day better than a band of cruel and disciplined murderers.

Let us not be deceived again. Freedom has no price. It cannot be bartered away for a mere satisfaction of lust for power and a sense of apathy. In fact, apathy is the greatest enemy of freedom. Highly motivated media personnel who have opted to barter away their freedom for king-making ambitions too need to be exposed to the fullest degree possible. In the winding journey of human drama, many actors and artistes choose to play different and enchanting roles. In that drama, those who deliberately choose to be apathetic become the greatest villains of liberty and freedom. Enunciation of high-sounding slogans would not matter in this greatest Act of the human drama. Those villains have to be brought before justice and fair-play; in this exercise, the need for due process is indispensable. The law of the country, the constitution from which cascade the basic legal norms and rights and legitimate privileges of office, need to be upheld above all else. 

This is a very difficult task even for a great people, leave alone for an apathetic few. From Buddha to Einstein, all religious leaders and great scientists and men and women of letters have attempted to bring forth the priceless nature of man. A nature that would endure despite gruesome attack on itself from within or without would survive till the end of time. The essential spirit of man is to set itself free. Then discipline will follow. Ill-educated and lusty men of power might opt to place discipline before freedom; they may even try to destroy such freedoms enjoyed by their fellow men and try to set up exclusively destructive governing apparatuses whose solitary objective is to protect and serve the men and women in power. This is the dynamic that is drawing the greedy men to power. 

In order to maintain a dynamic equilibrium between freedom and discipline one has to be extraordinarily attentive and focused; one needs to be learned and sensitive to the mundane needs and his fellow men. Yet he has to be, at all times, mindful that freedom takes priority when all the chips are down and all other options have been ruled out and done.

The inglorious garb of those leaders needs to be torn away and the naked nature of those who profess discipline above freedom must stand the test of discipline themselves. Any day, a free and liberated but undisciplined mind is better than a disciplined slave. 

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com                                     

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Politicians are practicing one set of laws for themselves and another set of laws for the common man. Their language interprets different meanings to different set of people. In their language robbery is profession, but for a commoner it is crime. For them carrying out murder is for survival and for a commoner it is a first degree crime. For them forces are for personal security, but for the commoner for repression. But of course all at the expense of unaccountable public funds. Judiciary would do the job efficiently. Where is discipline? Who can speak of discipline, Rajapakshe’s? According to common law they are criminals.

  • 7
    4

    Due to Democracy imposed on Sri Lanka by British colonial rulers and the ‘Wal Booru Nidahasa’ (freedom of the jungle) came along with that this country became a nice playground for minorities who cook up all kinds of grievances and play hell. There is a set of opportunistic international vultures who use these minorities as a tool to fulfill their own agenda. These international vultures do not care damn about the minorities. They fool the minorities and soon after they get what they want they dump them and sometimes switch sides and work against minorities. The problem is some minority politicians do not have the brain to understand this or they knowingly work with them for their personal gains.

    • 7
      0

      The picture says is all. These 3 men, even if one would focus only on the happenings in the post war periods, the worst men that have committed high crimes deliberately.

      I would never want even my dogs to respect these men, considering the manner the bugger have taken us to the levels that we face today. Day before yesterday we got to notice that entire world take us ” srilankens” as the number one example, to have been caught by the CHINES DEBT TRAP.
      .
      Not locals but entire world is well aware of the location of Hambantota for those white-elephant projects that RAJAKSHES S POLITICAL MASTURBATION costed to this nation.
      Why should we at all respect the buggers ?
      It was their duty, if got elected to go for elemination of terror as destined in 2009. But it was the relay race of a 30 long year war. Besides, collectivity succeeded it as LATE Mr Kadirgamar was very succeesful at getting many activities of any richer soils banned.
      Had Mr KADIR failed in that greater WORK, nothing would have come near to elemination of terror within lanken bounderities.

      TBC

  • 2
    4

    Discipline is absolutely essential for a developing country. That doesn’t mean abducting citizens seen as a threat or committing brutality. Lets not forget that interested parties/parties on payroll of INGO’s spread fake news at the behest of their handlers to undermine governments. This is not done on principle but for monetary gain.

    I certainly do not agree that a free and liberated but undisciplined mind is good for any country. There has to be a balance. Take a look at Singapore, Malaysia, China and the Western Countries. If there was no discipline, they would be down the toilet. Then look at Libya. Once anarchy set in, it has been a disaster. Western nations are perching freedom over discipline to the smaller, weak nations not out of love for them but simply, to cause chaos so it would be easier to manipulate them and steal their resources. This is neo colonialism.

    On another note, I did not see the author talk about the discipline of the LTTE with the lack of freedom during their time.

  • 4
    1

    The Sinhala modaya’s see them as the three musketeers. But those who are disciplined, honest and pure in the human spirit will always see the this threesome as the vulgar HALAPAYA’s.

  • 0
    0

    Vishwamitra: ” It’s time that a debate of classical genre between freedom and discipline emerged in the socio-political spheres in Sri Lanka. Engagement of the country’s learned ones, academics, intellectuals, professionals and thinking politicians is an indispensable component for a lively, robust and a meaningful exchange of ideas, ideals and enlightening thoughts. It is not only essential that the participation of all shades of Sri Lankan thought be brought forward for a lively deliberation of content and processes, it is vitally significant that the participation of the free media in the country is sought for the success of the debate as those who are engaged in the trade of dissemination of information to the public are often the victims of a regime that practices draconian rules, regulations and physical thuggery and intimidation.”

    Such holy word. Do you think that it is possible to get at least 10 socalled intelectuals to speak out. Remember the SAITM issue – the GMOA forced their way in , there was no justification. On top 200 odd jokers ( except about 2-3) who were never heard of in this world, signed a petition calling for the abolition of the SAITM.These jokers were never heard of. Just because they had got a PhD does not make them intelectual giants. This country has hardly has anybody with a backbone.It was the GMOA that blocked the Ayuvedic students from being lectured to by western qualified dostors on pharmacology.Teaching the Ayurvedic students western pharmacology was one of the primary intentions of Dr. Lenora who started the school,.So forget calling for the contribution of the educated. There is no such person in this s/hole.

  • 1
    1

    Other than blaming rajapakshas and slfp as unpers what we are doing, until 2005 srilankn economic size was 15 billion. USD and percapital was lass than 800 usd during unp rule. But after 2005 slfp of mahinda has took this economy and converted this in to 80 billion usd business economy and 3800 usd per capital with in 10 years and considered as master brains and architects of business capitalist economy in srilanka. On the other hand unp is considered as a economic management idiots In srilanka who are unable to uplift srilankan economy at least up to 15 billion usd. Can unp compete with slfp master brains. But unp is talking. If any one ask show the economic performance of them , unp has to embarrassed like idiots. Unp is the party of D’s Senanayaka the father of independence but considered as economic management idiots. If any business man or upper middle class can support a party like unp or leaders like Jr,premadasa ,Lalith,gamini or ranil who are unable uplift countries economy at least up to 15 billion usd. That is why the entire business class upper middle class and middle class became the die heart supporters of slfp of mahinda. If any one can talk on behalf of unp the economic non performers while the economic master brains slfp of mahinda in srilanka. Unp is always blaming others but does not making or correcting their mistakes. This is a curse of unp.blaming rajapaksas for their in capability will not help them .

  • 0
    0

    Citizen, everybody ignored the only solution that we have. Go for Biofuels. immediately go in for Ethanol and gradually develop Butyl alcohol.The Universities and the Research Institutes should consider that as a very important target. If they cannot do it, close all the Universities.We do not need rote learners and pests.

    If this is done it will save 25% of our import bill. Forget that joker from South who talks about powdered milk. What did he do to get the milk industry developed? He had been in the parliament through the past twenty years or so.

    Raw materials for this can be easily found and the shortfall can be bridged in five years.

  • 0
    0

    A pre-requisite for ‘discipline’ is prevalence of Law & Order. The government of the day will let ‘discipline’ find its own level.
    For example Singapore is envied for ‘Law & Order’ but a ‘Liberal Singaporean’ is unheard of.
    .
    In SL, there is universal agreement, that ‘indiscipline’ has become the norm. For example, the leaders of the 26 October 2018 coup d’état continue public life as if nothing happened.
    Will we ever have ‘Law & Order’?
    The services to enforce Law & Order have become a ‘law unto themselves’.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.